Things I have learnt on my IF journey (Please add yours in the comments below):
1. You can fast for 24 hours and it will be fine. You can even work. You can even exercise. You will not pass out or collapse. The hunger won’t kill you.
2. If you wake up at 6 am and fast until 7.45pm, but have a hot bath at 7.30pm, you may well black out. Don’t do it, it would be silly.
3. When you have fasted for 23.5hrs, the last 30 minutes will not make any difference. But you will be superstitious and think it does, so will hold out until that last minute.
4. Similarly 500 cals post-fast is not a magic number. You can lose weight if you eat 550 or even 650 cals post fast. Just a tiny tiny bit slower than if you only had 500.
5. But you may sleep better if you have slightly more, slightly later in the day.
6. And if you don’t count those calories at all after a fast you need to be very strict with yourself not to eat everything in sight.
7. You may be irritable when you start fasting, but as the months go on, the irritability seems to be less, or it is easier to contain.
8. The hunger comes in waves. But the waves don’t seem to lessen with time. You just have to ride them.
9. If you ride those waves and have had a long day of fasting (ie up a 6am) you are likely to feel seasick by the end of the fast. It is not nice. It will go when you eat.
10. Just as some fast days are easier than others, some feed days are easier than others. Sometimes you have a “core” hunger and just can’t seem to eat enough. This too will pass.
11. Sometimes you won’t feel like fasting. Try it anyway, and if it really feels wrong it may not be the right day to fast (ie you are ill or coming down with something, or you haven’t had enough sleep or are really stressed). Fine, fast another day. Or you may try it and find that actually it is not as bad as you expected.
12. Lifting weights when fasting feels great, staves off hunger, and your muscles seem to really respond to it.
13. Food does not have emotions, it is not sentient. You therefore do not have a relationship with it. You have emotions about it, but ultimately you are in control. If you choose to eat an entire bar of chocolate, you are also choosing to feel bloated, sick and guilty afterwards. That is fine – but YOU made the choice. You could have chosen 1 or 2 squares of very dark chocolate eaten slowly and not to feel sick. But you didn’t make that choice, and that is OK. Sometimes we don’t make “healthy” choices. But part of your decision includes the knowledge of how it will make you feel and you have to take responsibility for that.
14. Food is not “good” or “bad”. It is what it is. Some have more calories, some make you feel fuller, and some make you feel like there is a party going on in your mouth (sadly, these are often not the ones lower in calories, and they often do not make you feel fuller!). It is about balancing these foods, knowing what you can live without having in the house (because you will want to party with it All.Day.Long) and need to save for a specific occasion, and those which you need to have every day, ‘cos everyone deserves a little party every day, don’t they?
15. Calories in. At the end of the day that is all that matters. You decide to eat a burger and fries for lunch? Fine, accept how it will make you feel before you eat it, and accept you will need a lighter meal tonight, or tomorrow, to compensate for the extra calories. It is all in your control.
16. As far as weight loss goes, IF is just another way of reducing those calories in. It is not magic. Apart from the IGF-1 and all that stuff. That is pretty magic.
17. Eat less protein.
18. Men seem to do better on IF than women. They also get to have thick long eyelashes. Life is sometimes sexist like that.